Beautiful Malaysia

February 27, 2013

I've been telling my good friends that my 2013 resolution is to travel around Peninsular Malaysia. Last few years had been amazing, I had the chance to travel Korea, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam etc. These countries are beautiful but the moment I step out of the plane, on the ground of my own country, I can't stop smiling and feeling this is the best place on earth. 

I mean, where else is better than your own house, your own messy room and that smelly bed sheet and blanket??!!

Travelling abroad enables us to broaden our horizon and explore tonnes of new and exciting things. Experiencing different culture and learning different languages are extremely fun and addicting. 

Trust me, I know. I look forward to an oversea trip more than you can probably imagine.

But that makes me a 'foreigner'. I know more subway station names of Seoul than I can name of Kuala Lumpur. I know the look of Thai King better than I know of our very own Agong and Permaisuri. Yeah shame on me.

It struck me for knowing so little about the country that I live in, a country that I claim I love. Also thanks to many friends that share their travelling stories with me. They tell stories of their hometown and places I have not heard of, and successfully bring guilt to my heart for not discovering this precious piece of gem lying right in front of my eyes. 

And there are countless photos on facebook portraying beautiful pictures of Malaysia. Especially a series of photos called 图写家乡 started by My Road Planner. Beautiful landscape, people, scenery and culture. What a beautiful country we have.

Recently I had two important guests, Min Ji and Min Kyung from Korea. I met Min Ji during my summer programme in Inha University. She was curious about Malaysia and wondered how our country looks like. We described Malaysia with full passion and interest, convincing her that Malaysia is a beautiful cultural country. 

Six months later, she came to see for herself, the beauty that we had been describing and bragging. She has been to Indonesia once and Min Kyung had probably never heard of Malaysia before. This was also her first time travelling abroad. 

And they chose Malaysia!! I think she is completely brave and kind. Visiting a strange country which you don't know or never heard of is VERY scary. Imagine that. Yet they decided to come to this country that is so alien to them. I'm glad. SOO glad.

Since they were staying at my house naturally I was the host of their vacation hence I started planning and thinking, trying to bring the best of the country to them and thinking of what to eat and buy... And then I realized.... I know so little about Malaysia. 

They bought a 300-pages travel guidebook, in Korean language, introducing places and cultures in Malaysia. I browsed through the book and frankly speaking, I don't know 50% of the places and had only been to a mere... perhaps 30% of it? Planetarium? Where? KL city gallery? What? KL Tourism Center? Hmm?

Yet I had explored their country, Korea so thoroughly for freaking three weeks, intensely, happily and passionately.

Shame on me.

That inspires and encourages me to learn more about our country, Malaysia. So my new year resolution came true starting from the moment they land in Malaysia. I must thank them heartily for this opportunity.

I want to see the beauty of this land with my own eyes and snap these beautiful moments before they are destroyed by drift developments or some random greedy politicians.

The second day of their arrival we went to Chinatown and some attractions nearby. I thought there would be nothing special so I didn't bring my faithful but super bulky Nikon. I was wrong. I was so wrong. *slap myself*

All photos in this post were taken by my loyal old phone. 

The first photo was taken when I stepped on the grass of Merdeka Square for the first time. Sultan Ahmad Samad building is breathtakingly beautiful especially at night. 

Near Merdeka Square there's KL library, KL city gallery, a huge I <3 KL board and textile museum. Yes I know you have no idea.

Malaysia Malaysia

In fact you can walk from Petaling Street to Merdeka Square, just a few streets away if you take the Central Market as the shortcut. Near Petaling Street there's 陈氏书院 (Chen She Shu Yuen) where I met the kind-hearted Mr Chen (陈百川先生). Knowing I had not been there and the Korean girls seemed interested, he brought us around the lineage hall and explained the beautiful architecture and historical stories of the building. 

It means more than just an ancestral hall and temple. It carries the blood, sweat and tears of our Chinese ancestors who first came to Malaya and symbolizes a lineage of descendants, portraying the growth and lives of Chinese in the early 20th centuries.

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Sri Maha Mariamman Temple is just nearby on Jalan H S Lee. I asked a Hindu devotees about the temple and Hinduism, and he kindly introduced the religion and their practices to us. He said this is the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia, built in 1873. It was built by early Indian immigrants as a place to worship and pray. The main prayer hall is colourful, and beautiful. There's so much Indian elements and rich with Hindu influences. We visited at the right time, they were about to pray. The priests were playing traditional music instruments and loudly chanting something that I couldn't understand, but the whole atmosphere was peaceful and calming. 

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If you like travelling and photography, I invite you to join me, to look at this land of ours with hearts, concern about our mother nature, care about the people around us and the environment. I'm starting a new category called "Beautiful Malaysia" here in Evetopia, which contains all places of Malaysia I've stepped on, photos and my stories. I want to record the beauty of this country through my eyes and my lens. Of course the stories I have are limited, way too little now. It will grow.

We have a beautiful country. =)

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